As we traverse this time when access to otherworlds is so much easier to make and the shadows grow deeper inviting us into our inner realms, I have been thinking a lot about the role of the psychopomp.
In mythology, this is the guide that takes us from the land of the living into the otherworld at the time of death. There are many gods and goddesses who fill this role across different pantheons.
A couple of examples of these important guides are Anubis in the Ancient Egyption pantheon, the Banshee in Irish traditions, Thanantos in Greek mythology and even our friend the Grim Reaper.
A psychopomp can also be an animal and is often seen as a bird, or a flock of birds that lead the way to the underworld/otherworld.
In Jungian Psychology a psychopomp is the mediator between the conscious and the unconscious realms. Symbolically a psychopomp might make itself known in the dream state as a wise being in human form or an animal or even an otherworldly being.
As we honor our beloved dead and make our way deeper into Self, let us offer gratitude for these beings that pass between both internal and external worlds and guide us along our paths.
Emily Morrison MA, MFT